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Care is being taken so that no bulls will be harmed. Humans are on their own.
Friday, August 16, 2013
On Aug. 24, The Great Bull Run will occur not far from where Virginians send their representatives to engage in the commonwealth’s annual running of the bull session. Unlike legislators’ sausage-making, which only the squeamish can stomach, the organizer of the event to bring the real-life goring danger of Pamplona to the U.S. expects upward of 6,000 people.
Already, 5,000 have registered to run with the bulls and hurl tomatoes at each other during the first — and depending on how things go, possibly the last — American bull run hosted at the Virginia Motorsports Park near Richmond.
No bulls will be hurt in the making, assures organizer Rob Dickens, who ticks off a list of safety precautions for the 24 bulls: a veterinarian on hand; running only on turf or grass, not injurious pavement; no hard-to-navigate sharp turns and definitely no bull fighting.
Dickens cannot assure the same good health to the people running with the bulls. Runners, the group’s website cautions, could “be trampled, gored, rammed or tossed in the air by a bull, or bumped, jostled, tripped or trampled by your fellow runners.” Yet few slots remain for the four runs currently scheduled in Richmond.
It’s all about the danger, a true rush of adrenaline and feeling the extraordinary excitement, Dickens said. Runners can duck into nooks or climb over the course’s fence, which, on paper, might look like an escape. Reality check: 1,000 runners and charging bulls in a confined space, spiced with a little bit of panic and a whole lot of inexperience by the runners and the organizers.
The possibility of death is the selling point. Dickens said no one would sign up for an event billed as Walking Down the Sidewalk. We’d prefer to take our chances with that.
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